revision letters. pah.

There’s nothing like a revision letter to make you feel like you can’t write.

Yes, yes, I know I rather demonstratively *can* write, and I don’t need any reassurances on the subject, it’s just that revision letters always make me feel like I might as well just fling the book into a pit and myself after it, since obviously I’m incapable of communicating what I was trying and the story is a failure and so on and so forth, even when the revisions are really fairly minor, dealing almost exclusively with motivational issues.

Actually, I think a good chunk of what frustrates me is I felt like I’d nailed motivation in this manuscript, and apparently I didn’t do it nearly as well as I thought I had. Despite the above, I didn’t really have a lot of sulk going on with this particular revision letter, but I keep having bits of it pop up into my head and derail me (“Your main character lost my sympathy,” is sort of the antithesis of what you want to have in your brain when you’re trying to do your five minutes of yoga meditation).

Writing is hard.


  1. logrusboy

    Novel = big. Brain = finite. Stuff = happens. *shrug*

    Or if you prefer, it’s important to have someone remind you of the limitations of the lesser minds who will have to wrestle with your brilliance…or something like that.

  2. pbray

    That’s why I’m glad my editor puts smiley faces on the hardcopy manuscript or scribbles “Cool!” or “Neat!” at the bits she likes, to remind me that I got at least some shit right. You need that positive reinforcement when you’re staring at a 6 page letter describing what isn’t working.

    Commiserations on the revisions letter. I can sympathize with where you are–for the novel I just finished revising, I found out that the character I thought I’d nailed was the one my editor had problems with, while the character I felt most uncertain of was the one whose storyline she thought rocked. Nothing like completely misjudging your own novel :-)

  3. shadowhwk

    I like seeing the little smiley faces on revision letters too. Or hearing that the line editor told my content editor that they really liked the story or something. It makes the pain less painful.

  4. dsmoen

    Perhaps it’s my profession, but I guess I always sort of looked at that kind of thing philosophically.

    I’m a programmer by profession, so I’m used to being told what I’m doing wrong. The difference, I suppose, is that computers throw a hissy fit and stop right there, so when you fix that, they go on to tell you the next thing that’s wrong.

    Strangely, I never saw that as a strength before.

  5. darillian

    Just remember that if we’d harnessed the energy, confidence, and determination we had when we dyed our hair red we’d have taken over the world by now and they’d have no choice but to not critique you. We have been gracious and magnanimous to allow them this gift, so we may as well humor them further. *grin*

    You ARE a great writer. If you weren’t you wouldn’t put the effort out to have an open mind to their suggestions and continually try to improve your writing.

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